. Africa missing from list
The World Economic Forum (WEF), yesterday, announced the addition of 21 new sites to its Global Lighthouse Network, a community of world-leading manufacturing facilities and value chains using Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies to increase efficiency and productivity, in line with environmental stewardship.
Asia hosts the highest number of Lighthouses with 13 firms, Europe and the Americas have three, each, while the Middle East has two. None was listed from Africa.
The Forum said by deploying advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) in the production chain, more than half of all factories are making an impact on environmental sustainability through their 4IR transformations.
A consumer healthcare company, for example, coupled advanced controls with green technology to deploy a sensor-fed automated system to cut energy consumption, resulting in 25% less energy consumed, and an 18% reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2).
This development comes ahead of the Global Lighthouse Network Lighthouses Live event, scheduled to hold tomorrow, which will feature 11 CEOs and innovators focused on scaling entrepreneurial solutions to tackle global talent shortages, climate crisis, and advancing sustainable development.
WEF, in a statement posted on its website, described the Lighthouse network and its 90 sites as a blueprint for adapting to technology, improving processes and developing workforce skills to scale across the production chain.
“From pharmaceuticals and medical products and consumer packaged goods to a broad range of advanced industries, these diverse organizations spanning over 75 regions are demonstrating how 4IR technologies can increase profit, with a positive impact on the environment.”
The Forum added that among the 90 Lighthouses, three are being designated as Sustainability Lighthouses, whose factories and value chains are achieving sustainability and productivity breakthroughs. They include:
Ericsson’s Lewisville Greenfield 5G factory powered 100% by renewable electricity from on-site solar and green-e® certified renewable electricity from the utility grid;
Henkel for deploying utility meters on machines integrated in a digital twin that connects and benchmarks 30 factories and prescribes real-time sustainability actions in Düsseldorf; and,
Schneider Electric’s Lexington smart factory for leveraging internet of things (IoT) connectivity with power meters and predictive analytics to optimize energy cost.
The Sustainability Lighthouses make it clear that by realizing the potential of 4IR technologies in manufacturing, companies can unlock new levels of sustainability in their operations and explore a win-win solution.
The Forum also unveiled a new report, Global Lighthouse Network: Unlocking Sustainability through 4IR, outlines how manufacturers accomplished these results by leveraging advanced technologies to achieve step-change improvements in sustainability and productivity.
Commenting, Head, Shaping the Future of Advanced Manufacturing and Value Chains, WEF, Francisco Betti, said: “As discussed at the Forum’s Sustainability Development Impact Summit last week, increased global concern for environmental impact has made sustainability a must-have to maintain business viability.
“The Sustainability Lighthouses make it clear that by realizing the potential of 4IR technologies in manufacturing, companies can unlock new levels of sustainability in their operations and explore a win-win solution: greater operational competitiveness while simultaneously making commitments to environmental stewardship, leading in a cleaner, more sustainable future as a result.”
Contributing, Partner and Global Head Operations Technology, McKinsey & Company and Global Lead, Manufacturing, Enno de Boer, said: “Lighthouses have achieved a sustainability breakthrough. Companies no longer have to choose competitiveness or sustainability because smart manufacturing lets them achieve both. Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies – think artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet of things – amplify human capability and technological innovation to accelerate sustainability while also strengthening competitiveness.
“From using advanced analytics to predict exactly the inputs and outputs needed for a manufacturing process to augmented reality that simulates a production line so machines can be operated remotely, Lighthouses are reducing resource consumption, waste and carbon emissions, while increasing productivity and profit – all at once.”
The goal of the Global Lighthouse Network is to share and learn from best practices, support new partnerships and help other manufacturers to deploy technology, adopt sustainable solutions, and transform their workforces at pace and scale.
The Lighthouses apply 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D-printing and big data analytics to maximize efficiency and competitiveness at scale, transform business models, and drive economic growth.